Do you dream of posting gorgeous DIY dance photos online? These tips from one of the best professional dance photographers in the biz, Erin Baiano, will help you snap the perfect shot.
1, 2, 3, JUMP!
- Capture movement by counting off. “The shooter and the subject have to coordinate timing,” Baiano says. “For a jump, you could count, ‘One, two, down on three, and jump!’ ” Use trial and error to find the right moment to snap.
- Try different angles to add visual interest. Shoot from above or from below. “Don’t be afraid to move around until you get the best angle,” Baiano says.
- Use natural light. For outdoor shots, Baiano suggests shooting at “the magic hour,” when the sun’s about to set. “The light at that time is soft and flattering,” she explains. Avoid shooting at noon. “When the light is directly overhead, your eyes will cast shadows and you’ll look like a raccoon!” If you’re indoors, try to pick a time and space with as much natural light as possible.
Learn to love the flash. “You need flash more often than you think,” Baiano says. “If you’re backlit, use a flash. If it’s low light, you can be blurry without flash. If something doesn’t look right, even in daylight, try adding a flash. Just don’t use a flash when you’re taking a selfie or directing the camera at a mirror.” A flash too close to your face can make you look like a ghost, while a flash in the mirror will give off a glare.
- Think about your environment. “If where you are is part of what’s exciting about the shot, include as much of the environment as you can,” Baiano says. When you’re at the beach or crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, your viewers will want to see the sights. If the picture is just about you—or if you’re in a very plain environment—fill the frame with your body, instead.
- Keep it PG. Be aware of how much skin you’re showing and avoid doing overly sexual moves—especially if you’re young. Instagram and other social networks can close accounts with inappropriate content, and other users can report you.
Have fun! You can express yourself in photography just as you express yourself in dance. It’s OK to be inspired by photos you like of other dancers, but put your own spin on them. “Learn from your mistakes and keep trying different things,” Baiano says. “The more pictures you take, the better you’ll get.”
Perfected the art of the perfect dance shot? We want to see! Email your picture to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured as Dance Spirit‘s Photo of the Day on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.